Got a Thought, Question or Concern about Distance Learning? Then Wednesday’s Town Hall Wants YOUcsudhbulletin August 24, 2020 0 COMMENTS
CSUDH’s Center of Service-Learning, Internships & Civic Engagement (SLICE) is hosting a virtual Town Hall this Wednesday, Aug. 26 from 2 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. to address questions and concerns about this fall semester online. Photo courtesy of SLICE.
By Taylor Helmes, Managing Editor
Many returning faculty and students had a forced introduction to distance learning midway through last semester, and the summer has provided time to prepare, or embrace, for more of it. Yet, life in virtual classrooms will remain a challenge as classes resume this week.
In order to provide students and faculty a chance to reflect on last semester’s transition into distance learning, as well as tips and suggestions on how to make this semester’s experience more accommodating, a “COVID-19 Response Town Hall – The Challenges & Rewards of Virtual Learning, “will be held Wednesday from 2 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.
“The main thing that we’re hoping to provide is a guide for all of us here at CSUDH, as we move into the uncharted waters of teaching in a purely online and virtual environment,” Dr. Paul Fornelli, a professor in the Communications Department and one of the event’s coordinators, said. “We want to provide a forum where representatives from the faculty and from the student body can reflect on the experiences learned from Spring 2020. We want to have a frank discussion of the challenges that were faced in moving to a virtual environment, while also including some tips and best practices for overcoming those issues, should they crop up in the coming term.”
Funded by the CSU Chancellor’s Office’s Center for Community Engagement, a series of COVID-19 Response Town Halls will be virtually held throughout the semester at CSU campuses across the state.
CSUDH will host two town halls, joining Cal State Long Beach, Cal State Northridge, Cal State San Diego and Cal State Channel Islands as Southern California CSU campuses. The second town hall at CSUDH will be held in early October, and will, “focus more directly on how we maintain our community engagement activities and outreach to the broader world, when we have to overcome the present limitations,” Dr. Fornelli said.
“We‘ll examine how service learning-based classroom activities, and internship outreach, can still be accomplished, despite the obstacles that are currently in place.”
As far as Wednesday’s town hall, which is being overseen by Cheryl McKnight and her team at the CSUDH Center of Service-Learning, Internships & Civic Engagement (SLICE), the event will include a student and faculty panel, as well as interactive elements and a Q&A segment at the end.
The campus IT department will also provide information on some of the new technological tools that students and faculty may utilize this term.
“Student interaction and involvement is the key,” Dr. Fornelli said. Students will be encouraged to ask questions and voice any concerns they may have, plus, the town hall will feature interactive polls and surveys.
Nicole Figueroa-Sierra, a senior double majoring in psychology and communications, will be one of the student presenters.
“She will give voice to some of the concerns that students had and help to share their perspective,” Fornelli said. “We have some responses from students regarding their transition to a completely online environment last term, and they discuss what unforeseen problems and issues it caused.”
Among the faculty presenters is Marisol Barrios, a public relations instructor in the communications department, who ran an innovative program over the summer for her students, called the CSUDH Com Power Hour. She will discuss how she was able to use Zoom and similar social media platforms to connect with her students, in lieu of not being able to meet with them in person.
This is what will be asked from student participants during the town hall.
Survey Question #1
From your first-hand perspective as a CSUDH student, what did you find to be the toughest part about transitioning to an online-only learning environment?
- Time management and the lack of a structured schedule
- Lack of peer support and not being with my friends
- Harder to connect with faculty to receive course feedback
- There’s more pressure taking timed online tests and quizzes
- Harder to connect with on-campus support when I had questions
- Lack of access to technology or specialized equipment crucial to major
Survey Question #2
From your first-hand perspective as a CSUDH student, now that classes have moved to an entirely online environment, what are you using as your virtual classroom?
- I have a pretty robust desktop computer with high-speed Internet access
- I use a laptop or tablet which has proved reliable so far, with solid WiFi
- I have to rely primarily on my smartphone to access my classes
- I make do with whatever I can; I relied heavily on using school computer labs
- I go anywhere I can to get online: Internet cafés, public Wi-Fi spaces, libraries, etc.
To join the town hall, which begins at 2 p.m. Wednesday, follow this link: